'Grow Your Own' event explores the STEM skills gap


22-08-2017

Businesses are invited to join a new event looking at the urgent need to address the skills crisis in STEM subjects.

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The Cambridge News has teamed up with construction and infrastructure firm Morgan Sindall to hold a business breakfast panel discussion in September called ‘Grow Your Own’. The event will explore the challenges presented by the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills gap and what can be done to tackle the issue.

Bob Ensch, area director of Morgan Sindall’s Cambridge office, said a lack of candidates to fill jobs is an issue affecting businesses in many different sectors.

“I’m a member of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry, and it’s something we’ve been aware of for a number of years,” he said.

“There’s a shortage in all the trades, as well as for management positions and even in labouring. When I talk to our clients, be they large academic institutions or life sciences companies, they’re facing the same problems.

“It’s another side of the ‘Cambridge phenomenon’, because as development has gathered pace we’ve found there’s a skills shortage in all the trades, in management and even in labouring.”

Morgan Sindall is working on a number of large construction projects in the Cambridge area, including the new science centre at Anglia Ruskin University. Scheduled for completion this autumn, it will be home to the University’s science department and features a state-of-the-art auditorium as well as an impressive ‘superlab’, which can seat up to 200 students.

Ensch said inspiring the next generation to pursue STEM careers is a challenge that needs to be tackled collaboratively.

“It’s proving difficult to get young people interested in STEM subjects, and as employers we have a responsibility to work together and do something about it,” he said.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the last few years to try and encourage people into the industry, but a lot more can be achieved by working together and sharing knowledge and ideas. That can only be helpful for the long-term success of Cambridge.”

Dr Saul Humphrey, Morgan Sindall’s managing director for East Anglia, said: “The STEM skills gap is an issue which will have serious implications for UK productivity, if not addressed. So it’s key that we come together in a collaborative, open environment to explore this burgeoning problem and look to develop innovative ways of tackling this significant industry challenge.”

An expert panel is being assembled for the breakfast, including a representative from Cambridge University Hospitals, pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, product design and development company Cambridge Consultants, Anglia Ruskin University, gene-editing specialists Horizon Discovery Group and Morgan Sindall. The event runs from 8.30am-10.30am on Thursday, September 7 at Hughes Hall in Cambridge.

It’s free to attend, and you can register by emailing karen.ball@cambridge-news.co.uk

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The Cambridge News is published daily to a circulation of 15,000 (2017)

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